Driven by increasing air pollution in China, as well an increasingly demanding industrial and retail sector, an e-commerce air-filter opportunity window has opened for the Columbus based air filter manufacturer Columbus Industries. My GAP team is visiting China to conduct a feasibility study for this new opportunity. The logistics and legal aspects are important and complicated pieces in the assessment of a go-to-market strategy for an imported product such as air-filters in China.
It was when we went shopping through the streets of Bangalore that we happened to notice that a lot of retail shops belong to the same parent company. Working with Aditya Birla Group for the first time in my life, I was eager and excited to see the name “Aditya Birla Group” wherever I went. But when one of my team mates pointed it out that, unlike in the US markets, these conglomerates penetrate into every possible industry and still succeed that I started thinking about it.
Week 2 in China had a lot of interesting events for the Marketing team. One of those was a project related conference. Through contact with the OSU Beijing Alumni Association, we were invited to an event focused on Renewable Energy and Air Pollution. We talked with a number of people for in-depth interviews and invited many of them to participate in our survey. While we may have failed to speak with people at the mall, we talked to a good number of people at the conference. This opportunity helped us diversify our sample, and also increase the reliability of our survey results.
Initially, we planned on writing our second business blog about our first meeting with our colleagues at the University of Dodoma. There’s plenty to say about the differing style including: how and when to introduce yourself (Swahili has a structure of greetings based on familiarity, respect and seniority) and the concept of time. Since that meeting, we’ve come to recognize more evident and frequent differences in the business setting – let’s call it "operating in a less structured environment". Two notable differences we’ve encountered so far: structure and cell phone usage.
“Mind if I get your contact information so that we can keep in touch?” Xiaoran asked one of the contacts at the end of our meeting. “Absolutely.” The head of the investment department replied, while taking out her phone, “Swipe me.” Swipe me? What does that mean? I quietly chuckled, picturing how a non-native Chinese may think of this conversion, if it were to happen in English.